- May 4, 2012
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- Architecture, On the Boards
Park Gables bringing the outside in
By Elizabeth Gold April 18, 2012
Distictive Homes of Boulder Valley
Claire Campbell and her husband, Brian Makare, lived in a big house by Boulder Reservoir until they realized that maintaining the home was cutting into their love of travel.
They moved to downtown Boulder, Campbell said, “but where we lived was too sterile.”
Then the couple came across a new development, Park Gables, a collection of 13 homes at the foot of Flagstaff Mountain close to Eben G. Fine Park on Arapahoe Avenue.
“This has really fulfilled what we were looking for,” Campbell said. “There’s great access to trails and a short walk to town.”
Additionally, the Homeowners Association and a caretaker on the grounds keep their new property safe and in shape, giving Campbell and Makare a worry-free ticket for travel.
The Park Gables project started in 2008. Four homes have been sold to date and another is under construction, according to John McElveen, Re/Max of Boulder broker associate.
“It’s the perfect lock and leave for owners who travel or live elsewhere,” he said. “We attract a lot of urban condo shoppers who are by and large empty nesters or second-home owners coming from other parts of the country.
“A unique feature is that they feel like resort living but are just five minutes from downtown Boulder.”
Each of the two-story detached, duplex-style condos includes a garage. Square footage ranges from 1,671 to 2,549 square feet. Prices range from $849,000 to $1.3 million.
“Phil Shull is the builder and developer who acquired the land and had the vision for Park Gables,” McElveen said. “Then the architect took it to where it is now.”
Shull is president of Deneuve Construction Services. The architect for Park Gables is Stephen Sparn, president and principal architect with Stephen Sparn Architects, PC.
“In the site-review process, we looked at what makes this site special and at opportunities and constraints,” Sparn said.
The site analysis took into account seasonal sun sites, wind and street noise to create an architectural program.
“We also looked at who would be living in them,” he added.
The homes are targeted to people who love Boulder and the mountains but want to be close to downtown.
“They’re mature empty nesters who want good security on the property and to know the grounds will be cared for and the gardens will stay beautiful while they travel.”
Design was inspired by bungalow-style architecture.
Traditionally, bungalows highlight craftsman skills, according to Sparn. Structures such as wood beams and roof eave tails are exposed, giving a more rustic look to a building.
Following bungalow style, the homes start with heavy stone bases which taper as they go up. Materials used follow the influence as well.
They include cedar shingles, heavy wood timbers, heavy tresses and connections that are emphasized by being exposed – something Sparn refers to as “truth in structure.”
Park Gables’ condos feature open floor plan living areas where the living rooms connect to the kitchen, dining room and outdoor patios.
“A trend in architecture today is that smaller is better,” Sparn said. Rather than looking for big houses, people want more efficiency and multi-purpose spaces in their floor-plan design.
“Twenty years ago, floor plans had individual rooms for individual purposes. Many times formal living rooms were turned into museums because they were rarely used.”
In alignment with the smaller-is-better concept, the design of Park Gables focuses on making use of all the space.
“We also spent a lot of time on considering the amount of glass to put in,” Sparn said. “The idea was to blur the distinction between indoors and outdoors.”
He considers Boulder a three-season climate which allows for more open doors. “A lot of glass and things like with French style doors connect the inside to the outside.” Patios and terraces highlight the nature surrounding the Park Gables area.
Bedrooms have their own private terraces.
Design includes specialty windows, some circular, which “make the outside look like a painting when you look out,” Sparn said.
“We used a harmonious palette of colors for the exteriors – greens, browns and earth tones. Each house has three or four colors.”
Another design element which received a lot of attention was how to highlight the interiors. Sparn utilized two types of lighting for Park Gables homes.
Ambient lighting serves as a background light which draws attention to areas such as woodwork and walls. “It’s designed so you don’t see it,” Sparn explained.
Accent lighting, on the other hand, is more of a decoration. It includes things such as chandeliers, sconce lights and fixtures over a dining-room table.
He refers to accent lighting as the jewelry of a house.
All the features of Park Gables come together to create the kind of space Campbell, Makare and a few others have been looking for. “We’re surrounded by nature and wildlife,” Campbell said. “It’s great to have deer fawns peeking in the doors.”